Public sector MMF grows to £500m
The Public Sector Deposit Fund—a sub-fund of the CCLA’s Public Sector Investment Fund—has grown to more than half a billion pounds. At the close of business on 3 August, the fund, a dedicated public sector money market fund, stood at £508.39m. The fund’s size has burgeoned over the past year or so, and stood at just £200m in May 2016.
Barnet fined for LGPS return failure
London Borough of Barnet has been fined £1,000 for failing to submit pension scheme information on time. The Pensions Regulator has taken the action after the £900m fund failed to submit its 2016 scheme return. TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation Nicola Parish said: “It is the legal responsibility of trustees and managers to submit a scheme return by the deadline. This is one of the most basic regulatory requirements for trustees and managers and it is vitally important that we have up-to-date information about schemes so we can carry out our role effectively.”
Tower Hamlets resolves to change LGPS administration
London Borough of Tower Hamlets is exploring pooling the administration of its Local Government Pension Fund scheme with other funds. It currently carries out in-house administration, and has rejected full outsourcing. It said: “Changing the manner in which services are provided aims to provide greater predictability in the service received by scheme members together with an ability to rigorously monitor the quality of service delivery and increased confidence that the service meets regulatory requirements and has regard for best practice.”
Borrowing limits rise for Ipswich
Ipswich Borough Council has increased its borrowing limit to £350m so it can buy more property. The council has voted to increase its current £195m limit in order to seek returns from property investment. Last year the council set up a new vehicle to buy new commercial properties in the town to produce a regular investment income.
Government tells councils to pay for post-Grenfell works
The government has told local authorities that they will have to fund fire safety measures for their housing stock following Grenfell Tower disaster from their own pockets. In recent weeks, local government representatives have called for central government to step in to help fund remedial works. The government has now officially refused, although it said: “We will work with relevant bodies so current restrictions on the use of their financial resources do not prevent them from making essential fire safety upgrades to buildings.”
Councils face deluge of ‘scam’ reports
Some local authorities receive up to two reports a day of scams ranging from fake online dating to sham diamond investment schemes, according to the Local Government Association. One council, West Sussex, has received reports of more than 800 cases, costing victims up £383,000, since 2016. The LGA has urged victims not to suffer in silence but go to their local authorities. Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Heartless, money-grabbing fraudsters don’t care about the financial and emotional distress their sham schemes cause. They just want to exploit people, many of whom are elderly or vulnerable, into parting with their hard-earned money or life savings and vanish without a trace.”
Land Release Fund bidding open
Councils can now bid for cash from the government’s £45m Land Release Fund. The fund, launched in partnership with the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association’s One Public Estate programme, is aimed at promoting small sites for housing. Councils can now bid for funding for land remediation and small-scale infrastructure. Alongside this, One Public Estate is making £9m of funding available to support more councils delivering property-focused programmes.